Planner Hell

I got consumed by planner things recently. See, I’m used to using Martina Behm’s Strickplaner – a knitting themed planner. It sells out quickly so about August I went to look for the 2022 planner to see if I could get it. That’s when I found out she’s not making it anymore! I’ve used it for three years and now it’s just gone. She’s making a knitting project notebook instead, with no calendar features, which is not really something I need. 

I had recently bought Notability for my iPad so I could hand write notes, which I have a much easier time with than typing, but having them digital meant I could convert to text and then have things searchable! I poked around the online shop in Notability and found a digital planner that was half off due to the year being half through. I thought I’d try it to see if it could be a replacement. I loved it! It has hyperlinks from the monthly and weekly views to the daily layouts. Each day has it’s own page which is something that was lacking in the knitting planner (though I understand why, that would make a HUGE planner). There were lots of extra templates at the end that I could copy to anywhere in the planner to have a habit tracker, a workout log, or a weekly overview handy wherever I needed it. Pages could be moved around, etc. There were many more extras at the back I didn’t need though, so it was a bit overpowered for me.

I was able to add stickers to pages where I started or finished projects, just like in the knitting planner, though they weren’t cute knitting themed stickers. They served as a visual aid to tell me quickly on which date I started or finished something. I could write down on the side where there was an hourly schedule what exactly I did all day. This helps me track how much time I’m wasting staring off into space and whatnot and encourages me to actually do stuff.

In short, it worked great! I had found a replacement!

Well, in I think November Notability changed it’s business model. It went from a one time app purchase to a subscription service. At first they were going to force all users to start subscribing, but there was such an uproar (rightfully so) from users who had already paid for the app and didn’t want to pay again that they decided it was best to grandfather in the old users and not require a subscription from them. Great, problem solved. Well, with the end of the year approaching I went to see how much the 2022 digital planner would cost and discovered that all new content from the shop would require a subscription. On top of paying for the planner add on. Fuck that. I’m sick to death of subscriptions!

So I went searching for a decent digital or paper planner that I could replace the digital planner with. Only I couldn’t find one set up quite the way I like and had gotten used to. Also, they were all expensive and I may as well just subscribe to damned Notability and buy the digital planner there. Then there’s the worry that any planner, paper or digital, would go defunct at some point like the knitting planner and I’d be back at square one again. I ranted to my sister about all this and she said “Why don’t you just make one yourself?” I told her because it was a lot of work upfront and I’m lazy, but the lure of having exactly what I want in a planner kept niggling at my brain. It’s like she planted a virus in my mind.

So I gave in. I bought a dot grid notebook, a duplicate of the one I was using as a knitting notebook so I could practice in it, asked around about decent pens I could use that wouldn’t smear, or bleed through to the other side (like the sharpies I had been using), were easy to write with, and had some boldness to the lines.

The notebook is a Lemome A5 cork covered dot grid with decently thick paper, perforated pages (comes in handy if I royally screw up a page in pen), a folder at the back (for stickers!), a pen loop, an elastic closure, and comes with some sticker dividers you can put wherever you like. I may try a Moleskin in the future as I’ve heard they lay even flatter, but I really needed to see how the pens interacted with this particular paper first and already had one of these at hand.

A cork covered notebook with “Lemome” at the bottom.
A perforated dot grid page in a notebook, laying fairly flat.

The pens I ended up with were Pigma Micron in a pack with 6 different sizes, so I could test out which thickness worked best for my writing.

Six Pigma Micron pens in sizes 005 through 08.

I found that I’d have to do quarterly notebooks to allow for daily pages as a single notebook wouldn’t have nearly enough room for 365 days let alone monthly and weekly pages with extras like habit trackers and such. No big deal, I can do that. It takes up more space to shelve them when I’m done, but whatever. I don’t necessarily need the whole notebook forever, I can just take out the tracker pages I need and toss the rest.

I got to work practicing in my knitting notebook to see what format I would like and what all I’d want in it. I ended up with a monthly spread, a weekly task and focus list, a weekly workout log (on the off chance I actually do work out, ha), daily pages, a quarterly habit tracker, a routine planner, a quarterly timeline of crafting projects, a crafting ideas page, and a yarn/fiber purchases page. 

Here’s a few pages.

A monthly spread, with space for goals at the left.
A weekly workout log with space for strength training and cardio data.
A daily page with an hourly schedule and space for crafts, TV, and chores.

I found that I liked the 005 size for the tiny writing required for the workout logs, the 08 for titles, the 05 for regular writing, and the 01 for lines. I used a ruler to create a TON of lines in the planner and it pretty much destroyed the 01. By the time I was finished there was barely a nib left.

The nibless 01 on the left with the 005 on the right showing a healthy nib.

So I asked around again for pen ideas. The Planner Porn Discord server came up with the Ohto Rollerball Pigment Ink pen. It has the same ink type as the Pigma Microns, so won’t bleed through or smear, but it’s a rollerball that’ll hold up well to rulers. It’s a bit of a thinner line than the 01 but I think I can live with that.

It took me 4 days of doing practically nothing else to set up the planner. I’m tempted to just buy more notebooks and set up the whole year, but figure I should use one for a bit to see if it needs adjusting. Now that I’ve got it done though I’m excited to get started using it!

I also bought more of the Martina Behm planner stickers to use in the planner as I found them very useful and have used up several of the sticker types.

Planner stickers depicting many knitting themed things.

Now I’m just twiddling my thumbs waiting for January. It’s almost painful continuing to use the digital planner for December knowing there will be no continuity. I’ll probably just fill out the project timeline for the rest of the year in the back of this year’s knitting planner so I have that information at hand, but I don’t see any reason that I’ll need to refer back to the digital planner in the future.

By yarnologist

I'm a former wannabe scientist turned fiber arts fanatic. Follow me as I attempt to turn my amateur hobby into a professional career!


  1. I too prefer a calendar to a project journal. I have found that I prefer digital to paper calendars. I like that I can set my goals a the first of the year and then have them link to each calendar’s page with each month linking to the previous month so that as I accomplish goals it gets carried through the year. I took an excel calendar that had been designed for teachers and teaked it for my knitting. I like to track how many stitches I knit per day and have it set up to calculate a monthly average as well as tracking how many stitches I’ve knit so far in the year. It is definitely not rocket science to create monthly pages in excel, add cute clip art pictures for each month, etc. Any how, that’s what works for me.

    1. Fascinating! I wish I could get into some sort of Excel like planner, but I just don’t like to type on anything other than my laptop and going to/opening the laptop just seems like such a barrier some days. Better to have a more portable and inviting paper planner at my side at all times. I will miss the linking though.

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